Nearly a year into his job and coach Dav Whatmore already has reasons to believe that his Tigers are ready to bite.
"On our day we are very much capable of upsetting any side in world cricket but at the same time it is never an easy task. However, the boys are fully motivated to fight all the way," said an unusually pumped Bangladesh coach after the West Indies bound squad's last practice session at the Bangaba-ndhu National Stadium yesterday.
The team leaves Dhaka today morning for their first ever official tour of the Caribbean where they play three one-day internationals and two Tests. Whatmore said the strong showing in Zimbabwe in their last trip was the base for his bold optimism. Still hurting from the 2-1 loss in the ODI series against Zimbabwe, the coach was adamant that the Tigers deserved to win.
"We were simply unlucky not to take the series. Still that one victory gave my team the belief that they were a capable lot. I have seen improvement across the board in the last tour.
'I am confident that we will make an impression the West Indies and show the world that Bangladesh are not easy opponents to beat. I would like to see gradual progress from them which will justify my views," said Whatmore. In order to counter the Windies on an even keel, Whatmore felt that the wise thing to do would be to think as little as possible about Brian Lara's world record score of 400 and their new look pace-attack.
"Our main objective is to play our own game and keep focus on individual improvement. Lara is a dangerous batsman and it is extremely difficult to get him out once he settles down. But it is also a fact that he won't be getting a hundred everyday," said Whatmore as he reminded that the master batsman's possible run-feast wasn't an automatic ticket to success.
"I will never mind if he made 600-odd runs like he did in Sri Lanka last time and his side still lost the series," quipped Whatmore. The Bangladesh coach believed that the West Indies were still on the lookout for quality fast bowlers who would continue the legacy of the likes of Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose or Courtney Walsh.
"The West Indies attack is not as fearsome as it was once was but they are showing signs of developing quickly. Interestingly, they even depend on the slow bowler nowadays," he observed.
Whatmore did not give away much about the likely composition of the team despite his captain Habibul Bashar's interest in seeing Alok Kapali as an opener.
"I have a couple of options. We are trying to find a proper opening combination but everything will be decided once the series gets started. Actually I am still in the process of finding out the right people for a solid 13-member team and it is not an easy task. Once I sort them out, they will serve Bangladesh for a long time."
Whatmore also wasn't ready to grant southpaw Faisal Hossain a spot in the playing eleven straightaway but liked the in-form batsman's attitude.
"I always love to work with such players. But I can't give you an assurance on whether he will play a match or not."
The coach brushed aside the unfortunate incident involving ace left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique in Zimbabwe that saw him sent back home for breaching the players' code of conduct.
"That will not play on the minds of the players. Things like that happen all the time in a team environment. It's no big deal."
Whatmore also felt that the presence of chief selector Faruque Ahmed, who is travelling with the squad as operations manager, can only help in creating a good team.
Daily Star >>